Gender differences in life expectancy in Russia: trends and causes

Alla E. Ivanova, Central Public Health Research Institute, Moscow
Elena V. Zemlyanova, Central Public Health Research Institute, Moscow

Long-term mortality dynamics in Russia was accompanied by life expectancy (LE) gender differences. During the years of minimal mortality rates (LE 69.6-70.1 years) the gender differences were minimal as well (9.2-9.5 years). Contribution of age groups into gender gap in life expectancy is almost the same during favorable (1965 and 1987), unfavorable (1994 and 2005) and moderately unfavorable (1980 and 2009) years. Shifts in death causes determining gender differences turns out to be significant. Increased contribution of cardio-vascular diseases into gender difference in life expectancy (from 2 years in 1965 to 4.3 years in 2009) and rejuvenation of its age profile (from 7% of total losses due to cardio-vascular causes in the ages 20-44 years in 1965, to 18% of the same age groups in 2009) became a long-term trend. It points out more negative trends in male self-protective behaviour. The other trend is reduced contribution of neoplasms in gender differences in life expectancy (from 1.4 years in 1965 to 1.0 years in 2009) related to less positive mortality dynamics in females predominantly due to neoplasms of the female reproductive system. Local trends manifest themselves in increased contribution of death causes highlighting marginalization of population: infections, diseases of digestive system due to alcohol component and symptoms, signs (ICD10: R00-R99) within the working ages that disguise violent death causes. Despite notable achievements in mortality reduction in Russia during the last 5 years the share of such causes in 2009 remains higher (1.6 years) compared to the end of the ”Soviet” period (0.8 years). Current difference in life expectancy between males and females is determined by accumulated ill-being of the “Soviet” period and consequences of political reforms that Russia is still to overcome. Such dual pressure prevents fast bridging of the gender gap retarding growth in life expectancy of the general population.

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Presented in Session 91: Causes of death – analysis within countries